With less than five minutes left in regulation, a blur of white shirts took off down the field, chasing the ball. The player on the right side of the field got it and passed it to the player in the middle of the field, who immediately kicked it straight into the net for what became a win-clinching goal.
Those two players, goal-scorer Elton Quintanilla Lizama and helper Jason Ayama of the Park View Patriots, then celebrated with their teammates a hard-fought 2-1 victory Monday night on the home field of their nearest rival in the Dulles District, the Dominion Titans.
The contest was the regular season finale for both, and did not affect either’s standing in the district. The Patriots (12-4-0 overall, 11-1-0 in the district) enter the Dulles tournament with a Region 4C berth already in hand, said head coach Arturo Jimenez.
“This is a great rivalry game. That’s a very good team over there. They played hard. We just needed to stay with our game plan,” Jimenez said. “We wanted to move them around a bit. That final goal we were able to take it outside and put it back into the middle, something we work on in practice. But Elton, he’s a goal-scorer. He’ll put things away.”
It was Quintanilla’s team-leading 20th goal of the season.
Dominion head coach Bob Gannon said the game was typical of the season for his Titans (4-4-6, 3-4-4), who have tallied just 15 goals in 14 outings. They’ve only allowed 13 goals all season, but they’ve dropped three straight games by one.
“Frustrating,” Gannon summed up. “We still have high expectations, but we haven’t had the outcome we’ve wanted from a wins perspective. We’ve been rock solid, we’re in every game. We just got to find goal-scorers.”
Through the first 60 minutes of play, things looked good for the home side. The Titans scored early when Sam Ochoa jumped up to head in a perfectly placed left-footed corner kick by fellow senior midfielder Eder Mejía, a fourth-minute goal that held for 57 minutes.
Meanwhile Dominion kept Park View’s stable of speedy goal scorers from prolonged rushes, helping junior keeper Ian Whitfield see clear to make six saves, two of the diving variety. Backup keeper Jeovani Flores was pressed into service late in the first when Whitfield was given a yellow card, and saved a tough header off a Park View set play.
Early in the second, junior Brandon Clissold aggressively tackled the ball away from Quintanilla as the Park View striker charged the net, eliciting a big cheer from the Dominion side of the stadium and pumping up his teammates.
The Patriots finally solved Dominion’s defense midway through the second half. Park View possessed cleanly up the field and got traffic in front of Whitfield, where Patrick Rivas Ayala managed to tap the ball just enough to slip it past the keeper’s dive.
A repeat of the two teams’ meeting April 10, when overtime was needed in a 3-1 Park View win, seemed apparent. But the Patriots broke loose to set up Quintanilla, and the junior forward delivered to the delight of the Park View side of the stadium.
A freshman, Ayama, assisted with a well-placed pass on the run. Freshman keeper Dived Ezat made five saves for the win.
“Not an experienced team. This is a young team,” Jimenez said, noting his roster contains just four seniors. “If we keep working hard, there’s some good stuff coming!”
Gannon said he hopes his Dominion team can match up with Park View at least once more this season.
“This is the rivalry I want, a crosstown Sterling rivalry,” Gannon said. “It’s Park View. They’re always tough, well-coached, Elton’s a helluva player. We got them last year in the districts to put us into the regional. They got us this time, but I hope we get to see them again with hopefully a different outcome.”
Park View 2, Dominion 1
4th: DHS (Sam Ochoa, assist Eder Mejía)
61st: PVHS (Patrick Rivas Ayala)
76th: PVHS (Elton Quintanilla Lizama, assist Jason Ayama)
PVHS: Dived Ezat (5)
DHS: Ian Whitfield (6); Jeovani Flores (1)
Photos by Tavan Smith